Call for Expansion of U.S.-Armenia Relations
WASHINGTON—Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders congratulated the people of Armenia on the nation’s democratic transition this week, joining legislators from around the world in congratulating newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and pledging support for closer U.S.-Armenia ties.
“Over the past several weeks, Armenia has overseen a remarkable change in government through peaceful and democratic means,” said Congressional Armenian Caucus Founder and Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ). “The Armenian people strongly expressed their desire for a free, open and fair democracy and it is imperative that the United States stand with Armenian people and the newly formed government. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to provide whatever support is necessary to our friends in Armenia during this transition and to strengthen the ties between our nations.”
Fellow Caucus Democratic Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), who is of Armenian American descent, concurred, noting, “The Armenian people should be congratulated for their successful and peaceful Velvet Revolution. They have shown the world that they can demand less corruption and more accountability from their government and win. I look forward to working with Armenia’s new prime minister to strengthen US-Armenian ties and help make Armenia’s government fairer, more just, and more democratic.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) hailed the May 8th parliamentary vote for Prime Minister, noting, “I am gratified by the peaceful transition of power in Armenia and look forward to strengthening U.S.-Armenian relations with the new government.”
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA), who also serves as Vice-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, congratulated Prime Minister Pashinyan and noted, “After a turbulent period of mass protests and political upheaval, Armenia has emerged with a new government and new hopes for the future. While Armenia continues to face many threats and challenges, this peaceful revolution gives Armenia the opportunity to tap the full talents of its people and chart a promising new course. I will continue doing everything I can in Congress to help Armenia succeed in its remarkable reformation.”
Central Valley Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) explained that “With the peaceful and democratic transition of power in Armenia, we see that the Armenian people have spoken and demonstrated which direction they want to move their nation — onwards. I am hopeful and look forward to continuing to develop and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Armenia. When the time is appropriate, I believe we should extend an invitation to the new Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, to come to the U.S. and meet with Congress.”
Earlier in the week, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert congratulated Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime Minister of Armenia and stated that the U.S. “look forward to working closely with the new government and with the people of Armenia on the many areas of shared interest between our countries, including increasing trade, working in support of democracy and rule of law, and safeguarding regional and global security.”
On May 8th, Nikol Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister of Armenia with a parliamentary vote of 59 to 42. The election capped several weeks of peaceful, primarily youth-led protests by hundreds of thousands throughout Armenia, which led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Serge Sargisyan, who had held the position for a mere six days. Pashinyan was elected based on a platform of democratic and economic reform, pledging to hold fresh parliamentary elections.
Pashinyan has promised to continue the peaceful negotiations for the resolution of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan status and security issues, stressing the importance of Artsakh’s full return to the negotiating process, and pledged to continue Armenia’s efforts toward international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Pashinyan’s government, according to the new Prime Minister, will also work to advance women’s rights in Armenia and engage more women in government. He also stressed the importance of the Armenian Diaspora and the significant role it will play in Armenia’s future.